Posted in Life

The Year of Favor

2020 has been a challenging year for everyone but it was also a year of favor.  If you were to look at it with a positive outlook, it’s filled with thanks and blessings for everyone.  Here’s a look back on what happened in the year of 2020:

Health:

  • In February, I had my vision checked and got new glasses.  I also met with my primary care doctor and had some blood work done.  I found out that I was pre-diabetic.  I was referred to a state program to control my pre-diabetes.  I also had a consultation with the Orthopedic doctor to check if I should have my hardware removed on my left ankle. 
  • In March, I had my annual check with my ob-gyn doctor.  I had my mammogram scheduled and pap smear done.
  • In September, I went to the dermatologist as I have some dryness in my ring finger area and my mouth area.  I also had my first seizure ever in my life.
  • In October, I had a brain craniotomy to removed a brain tumor which turned out to be a meningioma Grade 2.  I also had a consultation with the radiation oncologist.
  • In November to mid-December, I had my daily weekday radiation for 31 sessions.  It was a bit tiring travelling back and forth to the hospital daily.  However, it made me closer to God as it became my daily talk with him while treatment is ongoing.

Travel:

  • In late January to Early February, we get the chance to do a cross country trip from San Francisco, CA to High Point, NC.  We were able to visit Death Valley National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Graceland and Las Vegas.  We were able to eat and experience food that are local to the states we’ve traversed.
  • In mid-February, we get to visit our 3rd Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Chicago.  We were able to score a good roundtrip flight deal from GSO for $100 each and free lodging with a family friend.  I was able to visit my favorite fire station and taken a photo at “The Bean” with few people walking around.
  • In July, my sister came to visit to scout the place out for her plan to move here in North Carolina.  We took a road trip and visited Asheville.  We visited Biltmore and walked downtown Asheville.
  • In October before my radiation started, we visited Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoyed the fall colors.  We stopped by Asheville as well and looked for a good place to eat.
  • In December, we took another road trip with my brother, who flew in from California to Charleston, South Carolina.  It was a mix of food trip and sightseeing as my brother and sister haven’t been to this place.  We also recreated our engagement proposal at Boone Hall Plantation.

Finance:

  • I didn’t have a job for the whole year.  I had several interviews but nothing panned out.  My husband wanted me to have a remote job but nothing popped up.  I’m just grateful that my husband has a job and has been permanently required to work from home by the company.
  • For my side hustle (balikbayan box):  I was able to send 6 boxes this year.  It was a bit slow as there wasn’t much sale going on and it was tough to go outside with the pandemic raging on.  Moreover, NC taxes candies the full sales tax unlike California which is zero sales tax on food items.
  • Investment (Robinhood):  Sold some stocks (SWI – which is good as they were linked to the Russian hack), my Apple stock split and gained some dividends.  For the whole year, I gained $389.11.  I know it’s not much but I didn’t really check it daily. I played with ORBC but it went up so much that I only have a few remaining. 
  • Cashback (Rakuten):  my next cashback is next year and that’s a big one with the Thanksgiving sale and the referral.
  • Receipt Apps (Receipt Hog and Fetch Rewards):  For Receipt Hog, I claimed a $25 Amazon gift card this year.  For Fetch Rewards, I exchanged some of my points for a year’s magazine subscription.
  • Medical Bills:  We were grateful that the additional critical illness insurance kicked in and we were able to pay the piling medical bills. 

Personal Enrichment:

  • Baking:  there were a lot of trial and errors but we were able to find a good mix for the ube cheese pandesal and ube halaya filling.  The pandesal is based on the Spanish bread class while the ube halaya filling was based on the ube jam class I took from The Bailiwick Academy with a little tweak.   We were able to sell some Spanish bread and pandesal during the Thanksgiving season.
  • Pre-diabetic class:  As I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic, I was advised to attend the state mandated class for pre-diabetes.  So on August 14, I had my first class with ESMM.  I’m just happy that I can still attend it even with the health challenges I had last October.
  • Income Tax Course 2020:  On August 24, I attended my first online income tax class with HR Block.  I was planning to complete, pass the class and be a seasonal tax preparer with the company.  However, with the health challenge in October, I was forced to withdraw my attendance and decide to try again next year.
  • Blogging:  I started blogging again.  If you notice, there are some articles from way back which I got from my old blogs that were no longer active.
  • Grateful Journal:  I would like to start this again and help myself, think and be positive with my life and thinking.  I hope and pray that I would be able to continue it daily.

Wow!  I didn’t realize how favorable it was despite of the pandemic and not having a job.   I’m just grateful that despite the challenges we’ve encountered, we are still blessed that we are alive and we are still able to share our blessings with other people.  Thank you 2020 and forge on to 2021!

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